Five of the Best UK City Music Festivals – 2011

For convenience, it's pretty hard to beat a city festival - and from London to Cardiff, we've run the rule over the best options this summer...

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Wireless Festival, Hyde Park, London, 1-3 July

If your idea of hell is sleeping in a tent for four nights, without hot water or clean toilets, then Wireless Festival could be perfect for you. Just jump on the tube at the end of an extraordinary day of live music and you're asleep in your own bed or back at the hotel in a matter of minutes. One of the most varied line-ups of the season including Black Eyed Peas, Plan B and Tinie Tempah on Friday; Chemical Brothers, The Streets and dubstep’s latest star, DJ Nero, on Saturday; and Pulp, Grace Jones, the ever amazing TV on the Radio and Foals on the Sunday. Add to that a balmy summer evening in the capital's Hyde Park, chilled cocktails, and your friends revelling in it all with you, and there really is no excuse not to go for at least one day of the three-day showdown.

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Day passes cost £55.25. Enq. wirelessfestival.co.uk.

Swn Festival, Cardiff, Wales, 21-23 October

The magic of Swn Festival (meaning ‘sound’ in Welsh, pronounced ‘soon’) is careering between Cardiff’s pubs and clubs catching a storming set, before realising the ‘next big thing’ is on the other side of town in 10 minutes. You’ll soon be an expert on Cardiff’s music venues, from local favourite Clwb Ifor Bach (or simply ‘The Welsh Club’ to non-Welsh Speakers) to the hip underground bars – a weekend wristband lets you into as many gigs as you have energy for. Started by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens to promote new music, the festival is now in its fifth year, and is the place to discover great acts. Bands such as Future of the Left and Broken Records made their name here.

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Prices are tbc, but a weekend wristband was £45 in 2010. Enq. swnfest.com.

Lovebox, Victoria Park, London, 16-17 July

East London's Victoria Park is becoming a veteran of UK city music festivals, having already hosted LED and with Field Day on the way (6 August, enq fielddayfestivals.com), as well as the stylish Lovebox with headliner Snoop Dogg in his only UK performance this year. Watch Jessie J, indie newcomers The Drums, and dubstep creator Skream in a green oasis in the middle of urban east London.

Day tickets: £31.35; weekend tickets (no camping): £108.50. Enq. lovebox.net

London Feis, Finsbury Park, London, 18-19 June

If real-life legends are more your thing, then Irish festival Feis is worth the ticket price. Bob Dylan, yes the real Mr Dylan, is making a welcome return to the capital, with Van Morrison headlining the second night, as well as The Gaslight Anthem and The Undertones. You’ll boast 'I was there' for years to come.

Day tickets: £70; weekend tickets (no camping): £120. Enq. londonfeis.com.

Splendour Festival, Nottingham, 24 July

Festivals don't have to be about camping, solar showers and wellies. What if they could be about great line-ups and buses home? Well Splendour, is just that. Headliner Scissor Sisters is joined by Blondie and retro favourites The Bluetones in the beautiful Wollaton Park a few miles outside of Nottingham.

Tickets: £35 (£20 is Nottingham resident). Enq. splendourfestival.com.

Looking for something a little more far-flung from your festival experience this summer? Check out our pick of the best rural summer festivals in the UK and festivals around the world.

Or to read the full feature on festivals, buy this month's ELLE.

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